Death and Texting

As I’ve gotten older, my reliance on text for communication has increased exponentially.  If not in person, I almost never use my voice for communication.  Sometimes the mere act of listening to someone feels inefficient.  Listen, older people talk slowly.  You can have enough context clues to know what’s about to be said, or maybe it’s just the 400th time you’ve heard that story about Aunt Millie losing her teeth that time she blew Uncle Milt on the haunted hayride (which is what we call any hayride now, RIP Uncle Milt – also, that is a killer story).  Sometimes listening to an older person talk slowly you feel as if they’re staving off death by not getting to the punctuation mark.  There’s Death, standing over Grandpa Joe, scythe glistening in the soft amber hues of the incandescent bulb (old people are slow to change even if it means saving pennies on the electric bill and helping the planet), his hooded cape like midnight on a moonless night flows in a wind that wasn’t present before his arrival.  The mere presence of this unearthly entity seems to suck the oxygen out of the room.  Grandpa Joe, sickly and pale, lies motionless with a look of sorrow on his face a mere shell of the man that once wrestled a pheromone-crazed donkey outside of an entertainment venue to impress a beautiful fluffer that assisted with the show.  Death’s dark visage appears to gaze directly through Grandpa Joe as a raspy, but somehow soothing voice calls to Joe for any last words.  And somehow this is the time Joe wants to be a gambler, “I….would….just…..like….to…..” And he dies.   Death ain’t got time for that shit and neither do I.  So I prefer text.

grim-3744-5616-wallpaper
image from

http://wallpaperus.org/grim-reaper-3744×5616-wallpaper-2269394/

In all seriousness, I text so often with other people that primarily text that we’ve learned to accent all of our communication with symbols to represent missing body language cues or inflection of vocal patterns.  Basically “lol” after everything we say, joke or not, to let the recipient know that we are completely incapable of a statement that doesn’t make us sound like the village idiot.
“Going to work lol”
“just left the gym lol”
“Just butt-banged your mom lol”
etc. etc.
Ok ok, the first two were exaggerations, but the point is the same.  It’s like watching Jimmy Fallon on his early SNL episodes, laughter after every joke told to tell the other person it’s a joke (Note: Jimmy Fallon IS funny – don’t misunderstand).  Really takes the mental aspect out joke telling.  I’m going to consider a career as a stand-up comic where I don’t tell jokes, I just stand up in front of people and laugh until they laugh along.

My grandpa is my older equivalent.  He actually lol’s after things he pronounces verbally.  Yes, he actually laughs after almost every statement even when it’s not a joke.  “Weather has been nice lately” *laughs* “That’s a bright red truck” *laughs* “I went to work today” *laughs* (to be fair, we all usually laugh a little when he says that, my grandpa is a barber and when business is slow you can find him napping in his barber chair – you know, working).

Maybe this new generation isn’t so different after all.  Just a bunch of chuckleheads wandering around laughing at themselves like the little boy that discovers his dingle and can’t keep his hands off of it not matter how hard he beats it, I mean you beat him. (I realize I could have deleted that, it was a joke, dammit.)  Just new incarnations of the same thing.  Life goes on, lol.

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Image from the movie, “Watchmen” (2009)

Ramble ramble, sleep deprivation makes it hard to form these thoughts together in coherent strings.  The whole time I was attempting to transcribe this nonsense all I could think was “in my stupor this morning, did I put on deodorant?”  (Yes, yes I did).

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A Busy Bee…Something Something

It stands to be said again, it’s amazing how time flies.  Never enough hours in the day.  Somehow I still manage to not work in the things that I want to do.  Wah wah.  I was just having a conversation with my grandpa who was commenting on the new job I’m starting tomorrow – unloading trucks on the midnight shift – and how hard it would be.  Actually what he said was “I hope they work the hell out of you,”  but point is the same.  I laughed.  “You do realize I go to a special place where I pay people money, money that I earned at another job that required physical labor, to go into a big room and pick up and put down heavy, cumbersome objects, right?  For recreation.”  Maybe conspiracy theorists should look into the sudden boom of fitness trends and their widespread appeal.  Convincing the work horses and mules to stay strong, preparing their backs to shoulder the burden of the death of the middle class resulting in their labor camp style existence while the rich stare down at them from their plush high rise condominiums.

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image from http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

Hell, that whole scenario could potentially be hastened by the election of the Queen Loompa.  Donald Trump looks like the distended underbelly of the hairy mammal that lays the eggs the Oompa Loompas hatch from.  Clearly the hair is the actual animal and the reason he comes across as insane is because we’re hearing the rumblings of a pregnant gut and drawing our own meanings the same way people that play records from The Carpenters backwards claim to hear Satan commanding them to make lots of sandwiches but never eat them, instead giving them to Mama Cass.

“Wherever You May Go” or whatever it is called, by The Calling is going to get a rewrite.
How much wood
coulda woodchuck
chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood…

I’m going to be rich.

 

I’ll Have the Wrap with a Side of Salmonella

I am obsessed with street vendors.   Seemingly the ultimate expression of commercial freedom.  Setup shop right there on the street, every passerby a potential customer because they can browse your wares just by walking to their destination.  For food this is a no-lose situation, right?  Hard to pass up food you can see and, more importantly, smell.  I eat from a street cart at least once a week.  Asian, Greek, American – type of food does not matter.

food cart
image from http://blogs.reed.edu/reedreslife/2013/06/07/portland-on-a-budget-food-carts/

Richmond (where I currently live) has a growing number of homeless citizens asking for money on street corners.  Sadly standing around with cardboard signs, wrapped in far too many layers of clothing for the current weather (though I imagine leaving something lying around is a good way to lose it).  Usually in return for your donation you can get a blessing, a handshake, or at least a thank you which seems fair for the dollar or less that’s typically ending up in their paper cup.  This exchange doesn’t seem to be of enough value to most though.  People are hard pressed to give someone else their hard-earned currency for a mere handshake or blessing.  All I get is well wishes and appreciation for the share of water, food, alcohol, whatever that I contributed to acquiring?  Fuuuuuuuck you, no deal.  Maybe if the homeless were performing they could generate more income.  I pay every month to seemingly unlimited supply of entertainment that I can stream to my senses at a moments notice, but what if I could just access that entertainment at the intersection of two major roadways?  That’s surely worth a dollar.  Even if someone is awful at singing or dancing, the trainwreck is still worth the spectator’s fee.  I can see it now, cardboard boxes cut and stood up for puppet shows which I would guess were mostly sock puppet shows, soap boxes make their big return as impromptu stages for monologues and readings of Shakespeare by olive field jacket wearing bearded veterans of wars they are too young to have participated in.  A massive cultural revolution spurred by the forgotten masses left to starve and freeze, unwelcome in the capitalist society that says pull yourself up by your bootstraps or learn to make soup from them.

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image from https://www.emaze.com/@AIWOORCO/Homeless-Character-Traits

But with this growing homeless-to-entertainer fast track industry, it’s only natural to require more street sustenance.  Is being a street vendor that much different from being homeless?   Somewhere there’s a gypsy camp of food carts and trucks circled around a campfire; clotheslines strung between vehicles hanging the grease stained t-shirts that were recently washed in the nearby creek.  Every morning they shut down the camp leaving only the traces of their mobile lifestyle – loose napkins, plastic silverware, and miles of plastic wrap floating in the breeze.

gypsy camp
image from http://www.ramblingtart.com/2013/07/09/wandering-through-a-medieval-gypsy-camp/

Out to the corners where shop is setup.  Money generated purchases more food to be heated and kept in containers to be handed out to hungry pedestrians by hands with no sinks to be washed in, screens to keep out bugs, or ways to ensure that foods maintain safe temperatures.  Basically, every person willing to exchange their same income for this food are willing to eat the same way a homeless person would – from slightly less than healthy places regardless of what it is as long as it fuels the rat race running.

Every time I eat a box of mystery meat on a bed of plain white rice I think about how few steps it would take to be right alongside my scruffy faced fellow human with a scrap piece of box instead of a nametag, making my money singing and dancing or simply begging for enough to get me back onto that street surviving another day.  We eat the same and breathe the same, but I don’t need his dance or song, soliloquy or prose.  I appreciate his struggle, no pride – just survival.  Thanks for the handshake, brother, hope this helps.

Sylvester and Tweety

Listening to someone talk about the nature of their cats and their unchangeable desire to hunt and kill it occurred to me how incredibly cruel we must seem to animals in a house with multiple types of pets.

I’ve lived in a home shared with (at one point) 2 turtles, several goldfish, 2 cats, 3 dogs, a ferret, and another human being.  So many natural enemies in one home, I mean the two humans alone were dangerous enough to each other (one did eventually kill the other, but very slowly through financial and emotional draining – a sort of fiscal vampire). Surprisingly the animals all managed to get along and not kill each other (except the turtles and goldfish but the goldfish were only there to be eaten by the turtles).  The cats would sometimes fight each other or the dogs, dogs with each other or the cats, but never more than growling and swatting. And like a parent, I’d bark at the kids and order was restored.  Like they were actually human kids.  But they weren’t, they were monsters.

At this point I lived about two blocks from a  7-11 where I regularly walked to grab a soda or snack before work, especially if the weather was nice.  I put the dogs in the backyard which was surrounded by a chain-link fence, shut the latch, said hello to the men that had shown up to do some work on the side of the house (it was a rental, this was pretty common), and hit the road to go to 7-11. When I got back, things seemed normal, dogs waiting at the gate for me, guys working, so I started up the stairs back to my half of the duplex.
“Hey! These your dogs?”
“Uh…yeah.”
“They just killed my mom’s fuckin’ cat!”
“What are you talking about? They’re in my yard.  I see no cat, good sir.” (I speak like I work at Medieval Times in my memory)
“They killed my mom’s fuckin’ cat and you’re gonna come down here and apologize to her.”  I could smell the cholesterol dripping off his breath as he started walking closer.  It may have been seeping out from the sweaty pits he left exposed from underneath his hairy ape-like arms hanging out of his sleeveless denim vest.  Yes, that’s the kind of neighborhood I lived in.
“I must bid the well, good sir, as I must now journey to my place of labour.” (Even spelled it with the ‘u’, classy).
“Do you know who I am, boy?!”
Silence.
This continued for another minute or two until I walked into my house with him still outside.  He eventually drove away or he had an invisible truck because when I changed and came out to go to work he was gone.

As I sauntered down the stairs, most likely imagining exactly how I was going to spend the next eight hours at work avoiding doing any actual work, the guys working on the house called out to me.
“Hey man, forgot to tell you earlier, when you were gone to the store the dogs got out and when they came back they were each holding the end of this cat and pulling at it.  We took it from ’em and threw it under the porch.”
This is one of those moments where a new piece of information suddenly gets inserted into a puzzle in your mind and stops you in your tracks making you reevaluate your previous notions.  Or, more simply, you realize you were an asshole (I did go and apologize).

These dogs were still dogs. Not children. Monsters. Killers.  Beasts.  I loved them the same but their understanding of the world was never going to be human.  Their respect of the other animals in that house, specifically the cats, was based on how they viewed the house in dog terms.  Sure, this means they probably thought of our cats as just other dogs in the pack, part of the house, but what if they didn’t?  Every time I scolded them for nipping at Herman, that fat, fluffy bastard, I was just a bigger dog protecting my food.  Stay the hell away from that cat, he’s mine and I’ll eat him when I’m ready, you little shit. For years, I was growing my food.  Dogs have no sense of time.  When you go to work and leave a dog at home it thinks you’ve been gone for an eternity.  Dogs don’t know how to ration food.  And there I was, keeping a piece of food alive that they couldn’t eat and just letting it wander around and drive them crazy with its fat, tasty body just laying in the sun staying warm all day.  Then I’d come home and pour some sawdust and meat juice pressed into pellet balls into a bowl for them out of the crinkly bag that alerted them to “food products” while I toyed with my food that even seemed to have a name.  For years.  What a dick.  Why did these animals listen to me?

It has to be worse in a house with cats and birds or cats and fish.  There’s Tweety, just hanging out in the cage, singing his lonely little heart out day after day.  Oh, what life must be like when you have skies to roam in, trees to perch in, nests to make.  Day in, day out, the time passes so regularly.  Some days seem shorter, the blanket seems to drop onto the cage a little earlier, some a little later.  One day, sweet Lord, freedom will come.
Sylvester watches, drooling feverishly as the lonely song sends a tingling sensation starting in the ears and moving into his soul.  Beautiful song to begin a dinner.  As Sylvester creeps slyly around the wall the way a shadow moves and stretches with the changing of the daylight, ever closer to his prey, in comes the sadistic old woman with her stick that fans out at the end which she uses as discipline for the mistake of attempting to eat the meal she has suspended in the cage.  Since a mere kitten this routine has repeated daily, punished for hunger and then held and cuddled.  The mind games.  I’m pretty positive that would almost count as psychological abuse.

tweetysandwich44p4

And then we NEVER eat them!  When one of these animals watches the other die then we just bury it in the ground or flush it down the toilet we must seem insane.  Perfectly good rotting meat and there we are just tossing it into a hole for no one to enjoy.  Wow, jerks.  It has to be a lot like it feels if you moved from a place where you watched people starve to death and you catch your first glimpse of The Food Network.  Or you see a trashcan outside of any restaurant in America.  You know, it’s gotta be appetizing…I mean appalling…appalling.  Yeah…that’s it.

I’m so hungry.

Trash Mouth

Sometimes I take for granted how much we accept certain things as part of society without ever really thinking about them.  Even things as simple as the way we say hello are practiced traditions…but never mind those kinds of boring things, we’re talking sex type stuff here. I met a woman tonight that through the course of conversation revealed that she doesn’t believe in sharing food.  This, of course, is not really unusual.  Lots of people don’t share food and for a variety of reasons.  I don’t typically share off of my own plate, not because of any phobia or anything of that nature, it’s just that I put the food on my plate that I want to eat and I have every intention of doing just that (dammit, I’m hungry). This woman didn’t believe in sharing food because she didn’t want anyone else’s saliva in her mouth.  That too shouldn’t ring any bells on its own, but it quickly ran the natural course that it must: “I don’t kiss no one, that shit is nasty.”

This was not a teenager.  This was a fully grown, adult sized person that had managed to live a full life, have a child, etc. but did not believe in kissing because they did not want to share saliva or germs with someone even if they loved that person…but she would blow a dude for fun.  WHAAAAaaaaaat?!  Mouth – nasty; sweaty dick and balls – awesome.  I know what you’re thinking: why question this logic?  This sounds like a career oriented professional that knows which end the money comes out of and what kind of person would I be to sway a person from their chosen endeavors?  A shitty one, that’s what kind.  But my mind couldn’t let this go for two reasons.  The first reason is the simple one; who doesn’t kiss?  I’ve known some people that were never really into full-on dog loose in the litter box style making out, but they still kissed their spouse or children, I’ve never seen anyone turn it down on principle but still choose to take a mouth full trouser snake in underwear sauce.  But then I really pondered it for a bit.  The human mouth contains anywhere from 500-1000 different types of bacteria.  Many diseases are saliva borne (mono, strep, herpes, etc.).  Maybe it wasn’t so unusual.  I mean, let’s consider our mouths are a constant high traffic area both inhaling and exhaling the air and every chemical floating around, as well as being the grinder portion of our human “food to shit” processing system.  This gives way to all kinds of new gross things that could be lurking behind every tooth, waiting to jump out and make its way on that pulsing pink muscle attached to our lower mandible into our mouths and infect us with its bacterial or viral neutron bomb of doom.  And in that same thought process, our genitals are fairly sheltered from the outside world.  The majority of their exposure to the elements outside of our body is being housed in some protective cotton, only subject to the occasional sulfur wind that’s been known to blow from the south and some ocean spray from beneath the surface.   Maybe it is cleaner after all.

Staggering.  The thought kind of spun me for a minute – until I realized that’s ridiculous cause most of our food is at some level just as gross.  Besides, I’ve seen people do far more disgusting things than kiss.  But the second reason I couldn’t let it go was that I couldn’t stop imagining trying to replace this kiss with some other sort of act that follows this kind of thinking.  Imagine a blowjob in place of every kiss.  Goodbye blowjobs?  Awesome.  Might be awkward to say “hello” in places like Italy. Goodnight blowjobs.  I think this paragraph has taken me longer to type than any I’ve ever attempted – that’s how long I played this scenario out in my mind.

It’s pretty amazing to me that we do just accept kissing with our filthy mouths as acceptable, but just consider the alternative.  Floppy dong sweat in your mouth just to tell someone you care. For the love of God, people, just no.  Kiss.

 

Walking Dead? No. No, Thank You.

Tonight I was attempting to explain to my daughter the significance of the zombie genre in the pantheon of horror films.  Hold your laughter, this is serious business.  Imagine my seven year old sitting quietly, brushing her teeth as I pace back and forth behind her batting back and forth the need for innovation in the genre yet somehow loathing the logic that allows for a zombie that sprints in pursuit of its cranial hors d’oeuvres.  Enthralled does not fully cover the level of sheer excitement in her eyes, which I can measure due to the level of deadness they seem to carry.  Impersonating a zombie-like trance shows her interest in the subject, so I continued.

zombie_girl

The zombie as a genre is so significant because of the poignant social commentary it makes about our consumerist society and mindless adherence to authority and rules without question.  Yes, child, this means the sheeple just do whatever you tell them, keep brushing your teeth and stop interrupting me. Of course the natural evolution of a monster story will see it imbued with various gimmicks to spice it up and bring some sort of new aspect to the terror that somehow wasn’t present before today’s society imagined the world as always having WiFi and Google. But the actual fright factor of zombies is that eventually everyone is dead or a zombie; just the absolute numbers would overwhelm anyone eventually no matter how well fortified much as waves eventually wear down the stone, first smoothing then completely eroding.  No, I just told you zombies aren’t actually real no matter how much I wish them…how long does it take to brush your teeth?  Geez with the interrupting.

Zombies can’t run. At some level all zombie movement has to be generated in the same fashion a human being’s motion would, regardless of what causes the signals to flow or what fuels the zombie.  But if motion caused muscle tearing, eventually no muscle fibers would be left to cause movement (even if the zombie ate and refueled, the nature of their feeding shows you couldn’t sustain feeding of all zombies for much time so their ability to regenerate new muscle tissue would be severely limited).  Yes, you can have a glass of water for bed, and yes, muscles tear when you use them but they heal and that’s how you get stronger.  What do you learn in that school you go to?  Listen, you have access to a computer, I’m going to show you how to use Google, you can read, right?  I’ve seen you doing that…wait, stop interrupting me.

zombie_bub

So no running zombies. Just how it goes. And listen, kid, if anyone shows you running zombies and tells you its a must see, that person is not your friend and you tell them to go fuck themselves.  You won’t be in trouble for that word in that scenario.  I’ll text your mom and step-dad and let them know.

But eventually, even with all these gimmicks, the genre will come full circle back to the true heart of what made it good.  So eventually this led to the Walking Dead.  I tried to watch it.  I got forced through the first season.  I tried, I really did.  I asked other people what the appeal was and it always seems to be “its the human drama and the whole fight for survival aspect” that is so appealing.  Kiddo, those people are also not your friends.  There is nothing less interesting that watching a show about people and their drama.  You can literally get that anywhere.  Just go watch any group of people forced to interact everyday, especially for survival, most people call this a “job.”  Drama everywhere.  Fuck that shit, kid.  I want to see zombies literally ripping people into bite size pieces, especially if those pieces look like sausage that someone forgot to link and instead made one meat filled intestine that several zombies can Lady and the Tramp until they forgot which part is food and which part is zombie and actually eat into each other’s faces.  That’s what I tune into zombie movies and shows to see, not 45 minutes of someone talking or walking followed by five minutes of zombies and then another “cliffhanger.”  I know the show has supposedly gotten more exciting, but it’s too late.  I just can’t do it, kid.  So no, I don’t care that your stepdad watches the Walking Dead, he’s a simpleton.  What?  Yeah, we can watch Lady and the Tramp tonight.  Come on.

The Tooth Fairy

tooth_fairy

I have had so many interesting conversations in the last few days and every evening I sat down and thought “as soon as I finish this thing that I’m doing, I’m going to write a blog post.”  Boom. Asleep.  That being said…

Where does the Tooth Fairy’s income come from?  Yes, ignore the obvious answer based in reality, I’m quite aware of that.  What I mean is, when I’m explaining to my kid how the tooth fairy makes it’s money in the acquiring of teeth and generating revenue.  Kids can be incredibly curious, and at some point, maybe my child doesn’t want to receive money from some creepy fairy that breaks into kids houses and takes their teeth to be sold on the foreign black market contributing to the same criminal operations that generate money buying and selling people as human sex slaves.  But seriously, how would I explain the realistic way this imaginary company isn’t ridiculously evil to have so much wealth and dole it out over teeth?  If they’re not evil, then they must surely have a wealth similar to any other company operating and must then be susceptible to payouts increasing with the rate of inflation more or less.  So, if my parents generation got a quarter, give or take, per tooth, and my generation got a dollar (also, give or take) per tooth, my kid should get at most, what?  Five dollars?  She says last payout was $25 from the tooth fairy at her mother’s house.

tooth_fairies_by_saccstry-d5qwq8p
image from

http://saccstry.deviantart.com/art/Tooth-Fairies-347527897

Either the tooth fairy is up to no good, or my kid is a devilish mastermind of future super villain proportions.  Now, I want to believe firstly, my child is a sweet angel and clearly that tooth fairy is making her money on the side.  I believe there’s a high probability that she’s using these cheaply acquired teeth to smuggle cocaine in many small amounts in the teeth then placed in pouches tied to tiny collars worn by trained rats that cross the border in waves.  But without going too far into that theory that I spent far too long laying out in my mind, I need to consider an alternate and in my mind, far more likely scenario: my child is a villain.  Who else but a Lex Luthor-ish child genius could be aware of the subtle nuances of psychological manipulation to pull the strings that move my hand to my wallet and empty it into her lap?  I’ve seen her eyes as she tries out different phrases, watching for the winces and the tells.  Like a master poker player in the final hand, her tireless study has almost rewarded her with the score she has been eyeing – enough money to buy the stuffed animal she saw at the gas station just earlier today.  She has watched my every move and found exactly which buttons she can push and stab at my emotions.  She has learned about the instilled connection from my perceived manhood and my ability to provide financial gain for her.  My fears that my worth as a father may be in some way actually connected to my ability to have money.  This small, fiendish child has watched me and constructed the lie, pitting the two regional tooth fairies against each other.  A tactic not unlike bargain shopping but with insider information about the shop owner.  She’s turning me against myself for her own gain…the devil!

Yes, these years of disciplined examination were going to culminate in ultimate success: acquiring toys whose existence had just become known!! Clearly the work of a super villain…would I be a bad parent if I encouraged this type of behavior?  I mean, the power of will it takes to become a mastermind…sigh…I’m so proud.

Side note: It didn’t work, what kind of parent would I be if I was outsmarted by a seven year old?  Sheesh.